Aging Well in the Gorge October 24th 2017

Why do people in some regions of the world live seven to twelve years longer than would be expected? That is the question that has driven National Geographic writer and explorer Dan Buettner to search for the lessons learned from these “longevity hotspots” in order to help us all live longer, healthier, and happier lives.
It started with the demographic work by Gianni Pes and Michel who identified Sardinia, an island in the Mediterranean near Italy, as the region of the world with the highest concentration of male centenarians. On a map, Pes and Poulain drew blue circles around those villages of extreme longevity and began to refer to the areas inside the circles as “Blue Zones.”
Dan Buettner took the concept of “Blue Zones” further, identifying four other parts of the world with exceptional longevity including Loma Linda in California. Dan and his team of researchers studied those areas and found nine evidence-based common behaviors of the inhabitants which they called the “Power of 9”.
But what about genetics? Your genes do have an influence, but only between 20 – 30% variation in life span is due to genetics. The rest is due to environmental factors and lifestyle choices.  
Last Wednesday, Brett Ratchford from The Dalles Blue Zone Project team spoke at the Center about how the project team was working with community partners to use the lessons from the Blue Zones to improve the health and well-being of everyone in The Dalles. It is a three-year effort and right now they are just starting. But by January you should be hearing more about their work to make healthy choices easier so we can all enjoy more “years in our life and life in our years”.
You may have noticed I haven’t listed the nine common behaviors of the “Power of 9”. In the coming weeks, I will describe each of them, but until then what do you think are the nine behaviors for living a longer, healthier, and happier life?
As you may have read, the Mid-Columbia Council of Governments (MCCOG) is divesting itself of the programs they administer. That includes the local Area Agency on Aging (AAA) which provides valuable services for older adults in the five-county region of Hood River, Wasco, Sherman, Gilliam, and Wheeler counties.
Because of MCCOG’s action, the State Unit on Aging, is now responsible for identifying a new administrative home for the AAA. To that end, the State Unit on Aging will be holding public meetings in all five counties to hear what the communities would like to see in a new AAA. In Wasco County, the meeting will be held at the Center on Tuesday, October 31st at 1:00 pm. (If you need transportation, you can call 541-298-4101.) And in Sherman County the public meeting will be held at the Sherman County Senior & Community Center in Moro on Friday, November 3rd at 12:00 pm.
The Center’s 4th Annual Holiday Bazaar will be on Saturday November 18th. There is still room for additional vendors, and if you are interested call the Center. And on the same day is the St. Peter’s 39th Annual Holiday Bazaar which will be held across the street from the Center at St. Mary’s Academy. This gives you a chance to check out two bazaars within walking distance for your holiday gifts.
The pant style from the 60’s when the legs of a pair of store bought pants were cut and sewn so they would be skin tight were called “pegged” pants. (I received correct answers from Diana Weston, and Deloris Schrader this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And a raffle ticket also goes to Rhonda Austin who I forgot to mention last week.)
Since the World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Houston Astros begins this week, I must ask a baseball question for all the baseball fans in the audience. In 1957, the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles. For this week’s “Remember When” question, where did they move from? And for bonus points, why are they called the Dodgers? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop it off with a picture of Ebbets Field.
Well, it’s been another week, trying to get use to the darker mornings. Until we meet again, it’s never too late to try something new – but don’t expect it to be easy.
 “Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t.” Bill Nye, the Science Guy

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